Crowdfunding campaign launched to ‘Return the Rapids to Eaton Rapids’

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

$50,000 goal to win matching grant through MEDC’s Public Spaces Community Places initiative

Lansing, Mich. – The Michigan Economic Development Corporation and Michigan State Housing Development Authority and the Quiet Water Society along with the City of Eaton Rapids today announced a new crowdfunding campaign through Michigan-based crowdfunding platform Patronicity. The campaign will support the project to replace the top half of the existing West Low-Head Dam in Eaton Rapids on the Grand River with a step pool fish ramp and canoe/kayak river rapids element at suitable river flows.

If the campaign reaches its crowdfunding goal of $50,000 by Dec. 18, the project will win a matching grant with funds made possible by MSHDA and MEDC’s Public Spaces Community Places program. For project details and to donate, please visit:

“Public Spaces Community Places is a great resource to help communities leverage their unique strengths into awesome spaces for the public to enjoy,” said MEDC Community Development Director Katharine Czarnecki. “We are excited to partner in this project and help enhance Michigan’s water systems.”
Return the Rapids to Eaton Rapids is the first waterway project supported through the Public Spaces Community Places program, and the first joint project of the Michigan State Housing Development Authority and MEDC.

“MSHDA is proud to join this collaboration of strategic partners for the Return the Rapids campaign,” said Chief Placemaking Officer Gary Heidel. “I’m confident the crowdfunding initiative will contribute to making Eaton Rapids a more vibrant place to live and work and provide the catalyst for increased economic activity.

The removal of the dam will increase access for boating/kayaking by creating river access points to enhance fishing and water-based activities. In addition to increased tourism and promotion of a healthier lifestyle, the removal of the dam will eliminate a safety hazard caused by the hydraulics of the dam structure. Removal of the dam will also have a positive impact on the river ecosystem, improving water quality both upstream and downstream.

"We appreciate the opportunity to participate in the Public Spaces and Community Places program. With their support we will be able to finish a six-year initiative to truly ‘Return the Rapids to Eaton Rapids’,” said Russ Hicks, Chairman of the RRER campaign and President of the Quiet Water Society. “With the completion we will be able to celebrate a healthier river and a place that will bring people to Eaton Rapids throughout the year. This project is new, different and unique. It is exciting to have done something that has lasting value to our community. A community can change a great deal, over time, but the river and its laughing rapids will be here long after we've moved on.” 

This project is a collaborative effort between the Quiet Water Society, City of Eaton Rapids and the Eaton Rapids Paddle Club-RRER (a.k.a. Return the Rapids to Eaton Rapids committee). To watch a video on the RRER project, visit this link.

Public Spaces Community Places 
is a collaborative effort of the MEDC, MSHDA, the Michigan Municipal League, and Patronicity where local residents can use crowdfunding to be part of the development of strategic projects in their communities and be backed with a matching grant from MEDC. Communities, non-profits and other business entities can apply at

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The Michigan Economic Development Corporation is the state’s marketing arm and lead advocate for business development, job awareness and community development with the focus on growing Michigan’s economy. For more information on the MEDC and our initiatives, visit For Pure Michigan® tourism information, your trip begins at Join the conversation on: Facebook Instagram LinkedIn, and Twitter.